Two teachers served with lifetime bans for plotting to illegally Islamise a school in Birmingham have been allowed back into the profession because of a technical irregularity and alleged “unfairness”.
Inamulhaq Anwar and Akeel Ahmed had been found guilty of exerting “an undue amount of religious influence in pupils’ education” at the ostensibly secular Park View Academy in Alum Rock, Birmingham.
A National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel claimed they ignored sex education and held segregated assemblies. One was accused of encouraging Islamic worship during school time with posters and a call to prayer.
Furthermore, both men were members of a WhatsApp online chat group, called “Park View Brotherhood”, which was slammed in an official government report into the scandal. It was said to contain:
“Explicit homophobia, highly offensive comments about British service personnel, a stated ambition to increase segregation at the school, disparagement of Muslims in sectors other than their own, scepticism about the truth of reports of the murder of Lee Rigby and the Boston bombings and a constant under current of anti-western, anti-America and anti-Israel sentiment.”
However, Mr. Justice Stephen Phillips quashed their bans on Thursday, because of “serious procedural irregularity” and perceived “unfairness”, the Times Educational Supplement reports.
The judge said an NCTL decision to simultaneously investigate the two teachers and the school’s senior leadership team risked “inconsistent decisions”, as well as voicing “considerable doubt” about the fairness of the hearing.
He also said more information should have been released to the defendant’s lawyers and claimed it wasn’t clear what constituted an “undue amount of religious influence”, making it hard to draw conclusions.
Mr. Justice Phillips said: “I have considerable doubt as to the fairness of proceeding first against teachers such as the appellants [Mr. Anwar and Mr. Ahmed].”
He went on: “The risk of inconsistent decisions, casting serious doubt on the fairness of the findings against the appellants, is obvious and, indeed, such an outcome remains a distinct possibility.”
In July last year, it was reported that two other teachers supposedly banned from the profession had returned to the classroom at the Park View School.
After the scandal broke, Shakeel Akhtar, the assistant principal of Park View, and Saqib Malik, director of student progress, were subject to “interim probation” orders, which are supposed to ensure they are banned from teaching.
However, the Department for Education said that teachers on the orders would be allowed to work in the school so long as they are supervised.